Today’s word from the academic word list is
Notes on Principle and Principal
Okay, there is one major problem with Principal– there’s another word Principle. It’s a very common mistake to confuse them. So what is the difference and how can you avoid the principle and principal problem?
Principal – the adjective
Principal is mostly an adjective – similar in meaning “main” or “major”. It’s an excellent word for your writing. For instance:
The principal reason why this is happening that ….
The principal difference between men and women in the workplace is…
One of the principal factors in global warming is …..
The principal aim of the government should be
How can you remember this? Well, -al words are mostly adjectives. Think of global, environmental, neutral, annual etc etc
Principle – the noun
Principle by contrast is used as a noun. It too is a very useful and common word and means “belief” or “idea”. Here are one or two examples:
This is based on the principle of
While this may sound good in principle, in practice it….
One of the fundamental principles of Western society is that…
It is important to establish the principle first and then….
Principal – the noun
Just to confuse you though, Principal is also sometimes used as a noun – mostly in education – and here it means “head teacher”.